Everyone wants to know how to prevent lice, but unfortunately, preventing head lice is not easy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between six and 12 million Americans get head lice every year. They are primarily spread through direct, head-to-head contact and are quite common among children from preschoolers to middle school students. They can also be spread quickly and easily among family members. Normal bathing, hair washing, and good hygiene will not prevent head lice.
How to Prevent Lice
There are not many things you can do to prevent head lice, unfortunately. While you can attempt to avoid close contact with people that have lice, the truth is you often won’t know when someone has them. They are very tiny insects and not readily visible. However, the following can help prevent lice.
- Avoid close contact with people that you know have lice. Lice do not fly or jump, so you won’t get them just by being in the same room as someone that has them. Avoid very close or intimate contact, however.
- Don’t share personal items like hats, scarves, combs and hairbrushes, hair accessories, headphones, towels, and pillows. Teach your children not to share these items, either.
- If you have a child in daycare or preschool, make sure each child has his or her own pillow and blanket for naptime and that these items are never shared. Talk to your child’s teacher or childcare provider about what steps are taken to prevent lice in your child’s school or childcare facility.
- Note that the Mayo Clinic says concern about the possible transmission of head lice is not a good reason to avoid sharing protective headgear like a bicycle or sports helmets if sharing is necessary, since the indirect transmission of lice via personal items like these is not very common. Don’t use such items if you know they’ve recently been used by someone with head lice, but otherwise, use them if necessary.
How to Prevent Lice Spreading to Others
Head lice are very contagious. Take steps to prevent spreading them to other people.
- If you find lice on yourself or your child, treat the lice as soon as possible to prevent spreading them to others.
- If you find lice on any member of your family, check all family members to make sure they don’t also have lice. If your child has lice, notify the parents of any friends that may have been exposed and notify your child’s teacher if there is a possibility that any classmates have been exposed.
How to Prevent Lice Re-infestation
Once you’ve gotten rid of head lice, you don’t want to be re-infested.
- Wash all bed linens, clothing, stuffed animals, and any other machine-washable items that you’ve been in close contact with hot water and then put them in the dryer on a high setting.
- Seal any items that cannot be washed in plastic bags for up to two weeks. Lice can only go a couple of days without feeding on humans, so this will kill them.
- Thoroughly vacuum sofas, upholstered chairs, mattresses, carpets, and other soft furnishings.
- Wash all combs, brushes, and other hair care items in hot, soapy water.
If You do Get Lice
If your best efforts at preventing head lice fail, you need to treat the lice right away so you don’t spread them to others. Besides, head lice cause significant itching and you don’t want to deal with them one minute longer than you have to! Our favorite treatment for head lice is the Fairy Tales Lice Good-bye Lice Removal Kit. It’s safe, effective, easy to use, and you don’t need a prescription from your doctor. To learn more, just follow the link.